Despite a decision to leave the European Union (EU), the UK will continue to oppose the creation of an EU army as it will “undermine” the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), says British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon.
Speaking to the press ahead of informal talks with his counterparts from the European Union (EU) in Bratislava, Fallon said Tuesday that London “remains committed” to Europe's security but would under no circumstance approve of an EU army.
“We're going to continue to oppose any idea of an EU army, or an EU army headquarters which would simply undermine NATO,” he said. “NATO must remain the cornerstone of our defense and the defense of Europe.”
Admitting that European countries needed “to do more” in order to curb terrorism, Fallon said weakening NATO was “the wrong way” to achieve more security.
Asked if London would use its veto power to reject such proposals, Fallon said there was no need to veto as there was no majority to back the idea in the first place.
“There is no majority here for an EU army. There are a number of other countries who believe with us that that cuts across the sovereignty of individual nation states,” the defense secretary said.
Fallon’s comments came after European Parliament President Martin Schulz said London would not have a veto over the matter due to its pending departure from the EU, which was decided by 52 percent of British voters in a referendum on June 23.
France and Germany have been tasked with establishing a joint military headquarters aimed at the eventual unification of all the European Union’s armies.
Despite London’s stance on the joint army, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the force would “complement” NATO.
In June, the EU released a strategy document that suggests the 28-member bloc can no more rely on NATO for the provision of security, stressing the need for a “more credible European defense.”